A bunch of old men searching for pieces of art doesn’t sound like an overtly thrilling story, but “The Monuments Men” is emotional, exciting and satisfying.
Frank Stokes (George Clooney) convinces his superiors to allow him to take a team of art aficionados into World War II battlegrounds in an attempt to save precious pieces of art — such as “Madonna of Bruges” by Michelangelo — so that history and culture are not erased by the devastation caused by war.
The catch, however, is that all the young, able-bodied men are already fighting in the war. So Stokes gathers a group of unlikely heroes. Together, they find the stashes of art that have been hidden by Hitler and return them to their original owners. Along the way, the motley crew must overcome tragedy and pain.
The all-star cast alone would gather a crowd: Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman.
Some of the acting seems a little weak from these big names, but on the whole they did a beautiful job bringing this film, which is based on a true story, to life. This, combined with beautiful sets and costumes, helps make a story that has gone untold for many years burst off the screen.
The script did more than just serve the story. In little scenes that were unimportant to the overarching plot, the film allows the audience to see the character of these men and that even the enemy isn’t always as expected. For example, we see members of “The Monuments Men” sitting down with a scared Nazi teen to have a smoke instead of killing one another.
In another scene, they pull a boy who had been shooting at them to a safe place so he doesn’t get hurt in the war. We come to appreciate the characters of the men beyond their duties, and that is a luxury that isn’t usually afforded.
“The Monuments Men” satisfies the moviegoer’s sweet tooth and is a good pick for Valentine’s Day.